The state House and Senate are trying to reach an agreement on reforms to Missouri’s municipal courts.
Both chambers have laid out what they want to change about Missouri’s law that limits how much of a city’s annual revenue can come from traffic tickets and fines. Senator Eric Schmitt (R-Glendale) told Missourinet the two sides have to work out differences.
“Representative Diehl had the municipal standards language that we want to make sure we go through,” said Schmitt. “In the House Committee they changed the percentages.”
The amendment from House Speaker John Diehl (R-Town and Country) would create minimum standards for local governments in St. Louis County including having a balanced budget and the setting of standards for police departments including a written policy on the use of force.
The state House and Senate both propose lowering from 30-percent to 20-percent in most of the state the amount of annual revenue a city can get from traffic tickets and fines. The Senate, though, would lower that to 10-percent in “suburban areas,” while the House would lower it to 15-percent only in St. Louis County.
Representative Clem Smith (D-Velda Village Hills) told Missouri House Communications he felt many St. Louis County lawmakers were left out of that discussion.
“In this bill, rural individuals were able to keep 20-percent of traffic revenue while St. Louis County was penalized to get 15-percent. I thought the idea was that everybody was equal,” said Smith.
Representative Margo McNeil (D-Florissant) didn’t like the proposal to use two different percentages.
“I’m a little put off by the fact that we are doing things to St. Louis County that we wouldn’t do to the rest of the state,” said McNeil.
Representative Robert Cornejo (R-St. Peters) didn’t disagree, but said the bill needs to advance so that the rate is lowered from 30-percent.
“Our constituents would be mighty mad at us if we set up our state budget on, a third of it, on traffic tickets,” Cornejo said.